Reflections on receiving The Kings Award for Voluntary Service and Ekota’s work over the last decade

Ekota has received numerous awards over the years but receiving the Kings Award feels extra special. It comes at a hard time, for organisations like ourselves, with the cost of living crisis creating pressures for us, as well as the people we work with. We don’t do the work, we do for the recognition but are always honoured to have a chance to celebrate our people and communities.

I have been reflecting on the past 10 years, from where Ekota started to where we are now. We spent so much of those early days standing in the cold and rain delivering activities to a handful of people wondering if we were making a difference(we were!). At the same time we were making so many connections and networks, on which we would expand and build upon over the years. There were so many asks to do projects, that were challenging to keep up with and the need to have a central hub became key, leading to the establishment of the Ekota hub and cafe. I am appreciative of the range of projects we have successfully delivered, the partnerships we have built and the impact we have made and continue to make.

It was, and still is a family approach to those who work with us, with strong bonds and joint purpose. We have worked with people from so many different backgrounds many of whom would never have connected if not for Ekota. It’s been amazing to see people who have worked with us grow in confidence, find new opportunities from the experiences they gained with us, and continue to be a part of the fabric of the Ekota story.

Community activism is my passion and Ekota has facilitated this work. I am privileged to have so many stories of unique experiences, conversations, of life changing moments, of laughter and unity.

Currently humanity and compassion are being tested on a global scale. At Ekota we work to live and breathe positive change, with the hope that we can contribute in our small way to strengthen our part of the world.

So much has changed but at the heart of it we remain the same, in regards to our core values of empowering, connecting and strengthening communities.

It is hard to tell where the next 10 years will take us, but for now I’m proud of the legacy we have created to date, big and small, which I’m confident will send positive ripples out into the future.

Sultana- Chair

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